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Phillip Daniels calls NFL's concussion crackdown "crazy"

(By Al Bello - Getty)

Here's a sneak peak of what you can expect from your national Wednesday NFL open locker room coverage: defensive players complaining loudly and eloquently about the league's sudden emphasis on preventing concussions. You will see stories like this from just about every NFL market, with players arguing that a certain level of violence is inevitable, and that legislating it out through fines and/or suspensions is both hypocritical and impossible.

For your sneak peak, I present Phillip Daniels's Tuesday appearance on the LaVar and Dukes show. Daniels actually began his critique of the NFL on Twitter; some of his comments are grouped together here:

Have we become a cupcake league? We already have better helmets and gear. Wonder how the old school players feel about this. Not in the back of minds when talking about 18 game season so let's play football please....Even guys using shoulders to hit are getting flagged for helmet-to-helmet. Defense is getting sloppy because guys are avoiding fines and will get worse if suspending comes into play....

There has been a warning sticker on the back of every helmet since pee wee league. When u put that helmet on you know you will hit or be hit. We still choose to play. Parents are asked to sign forms for their kids to play because of the dangers of the sport. Nothing is different.

On the radio, he was perhaps even more pointed when asked about the NFL's response to last week's carnage.

"To me, when I hear guys getting fined that much money for a game in which we're taught to be physical and hit people, I think it's ridiculous," Daniels said. "When this game started, from way back, your dream is to go out there and hit somebody and bring some excitement to the game. You're talking about taking that away. Guys are gonna get hurt. This is football. This ain't no cupcake league.You're gonna go out and play football, you're gonna get hit. Offensive players know they're gonna get hit, and defensive players go out to hit. Nothing's changed. You just go out there and play football and take all this other stuff out of it, this suspension stuff. It's kind of crazy. The fines are crazy too."

Daniels echoed a widespread opinion that the double knockout shot leveled by Dunta Robinson on DeSean Jackson was actually clean, and he said that players are virtually never trying to hurt each other.

"I don't think guys should just go be blatant and go after a head or leave their feet and spear somebody with a helmet, but we're taught to be physical, we're taught to go out and hit people," he said. "And now you get a couple of stars hurt in this league, now they want to talk about suspending guys? I just think this game is going downhill. Defenses right now are sloppy, there's more missed tackles, because guys are trying to avoid the helmet-to-helmet hit. Now you're talking about suspending guys? You definitely gonna get a lot of guys trying to go in the wrong way, missing tackles....You've just got to go out and play football."

Daniels said he uses an "old-school" helmet and is suspicious of the new helmet technology, saying that all three Redskins who have suffered concussions this season were using newer models. He said he's never been on a team that suffered as many concussions as these Redskins, who have already lost Chris Cooley, Rocky McIntosh and Anthony Bryant to head injuries. But he also said that when you go into his profession, you do so with the understanding that your body might be damaged.

"They've done a lot to make this league safer," he said. "It's changed a whole lot already. We protected the quarterback, you've got the horse collar [rule] that happened when T.O. went down. A superstar goes down, the rules change, that's just how it is. I don't get it. We get a couple big name guys go down this weekend, now we're talking about the helmet issue. I just think the NFL, they've done a lot to keep players safe.

"You're gonna get hurt, and if people ever wonder why we get paid so much, this is why. They're talking about this helmet-to-helmet stuff, but it's not coming into play when they're talking about 18 games....How can they argue the 18 game increase? It's crazy. This game is already tough enough with 16 games. To add two more, as physical as this game is, is kind of ridiculous."

By Dan Steinberg  | October 20, 2010; 6:24 AM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Quoting Maximus:


Posted by: Scoonie97 | October 20, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If they're serious about keeping people from getting hurt, then they should get rid of the pads and the helmet. The original idea of the pads and helmet were to protect the players, but it turns out all they do is let them hit each other harder.

Posted by: Matte | October 20, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Um, Mr. Daniels, I believe football is about 'tackling' and not really launching oneself as a missile to knock the opposing player down. So many players today just try to knock into someone and not wrap them up in a tackle.

A while ago there was a show on cable that measured the force behind Ray Lewis lowering his shoulder and breaking down a door. It was over 1000 pounds of force.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | October 20, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing about the DeSean hit is I, a certified Eagles hater, didn't think it was illegal. In fact, I thot it was a good clean hard hit and the 15-yard penalty was bull.

Posted by: tundey | October 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

BTW, maybe the NFL should have a new defensive statistic. When they call it a tackle, a player's arms actually need to be around the opposing player that is being taken down. When the defense 'knocks' another player down without tackling him, that will be counted as a 'KD - knock-down'. It will be interesting to see how many players actually tackle someone and how many just knock down a player by launching/throwing themselves at the opposing player.

Posted by: bbmcoachk | October 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine with adjusting the rules to force players to tackle properly rather than try to spear people. The big hits would still be there for the most part. The danger would be reduced significantly if players had to keep their heads up, lead with their arms instead of their head, and make an honest attempt at wrapping up. I don't view these shoulder/helmet strikes as necessary to the game and would be fine with "unnecessary roughness" calls and potential fines or suspensions for players that insist on playing that way.

Small DB's would can't tackle (like Deangelo Hall) would be out of luck, but the game would be safer and just as exciting in my opinion. It's just getting back to fundamental football and away from the gratuitous violence that we've grown accustomed too.

Posted by: jimwest20 | October 20, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

A mandate of a standardized pre season evaluation used by the Patriots should be mandated.
Playing football with a boxers "Glass Jaw" is not a good idea. Developed with Marvin Hagler, he never got ko'd, never!!!!

http://www.mahercor Traumatology%20Publi cation.pdf

http://fourthandgoa 21/nfl-and-nfl-playe rs-association-ne
ed-to-mandate-the- use-of-mouth-gaurds/

http://fourthandgoa 24/why-is-the-mouth- guard-not-a-manda
tory-piece-of-equi pment-in-the-nfl/

http://www.kansasci 52026/cassels-secret -weapon-against.h

http://www.usajunio /USAJHM_Sept_09_12_2 4.pdf

Mark Picot
Executive Vice President

Posted by: Mahercor061 | October 20, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Saw a graph on SportsCenter showing that concussions have spiked this season through six weeks vs. the previous seasons. Notably missing was anything mentioning that the league had instituted a new policy about diagnosing and treating concussions. To hear retired players talk, if a guy got his bell rung, he'd sniff some smelling salts and get back on the field if at all possible. Now guys have to be evaluated first. It's likely that players are being diagnosed with concussions now that would have simply played on in previous years. In other words, we don't really know that there are more head injuries this year than there used to be.

Posted by: KevinBroom | October 21, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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